Last year, we introduced Families Victorious Ministry to the West Michigan Christian News readers. Families Victorious Ministry (FVM), founded by Norine and Harry Pothoff, hosts Bible studies across the West Michigan area focused on helping those trapped in addictive behaviors. Some individuals can have an occasional drink, while others never find a balance and become addicted to alcohol. Some people can travel to a casino and spend a few extra dollars while enjoying the evening with family and friends, while others get hooked by the rush and risk. Drug use never has an upside, and co-dependent relationships become destructive to a person’s emotional, social and spiritual well-being Norine and Harry focus their energies on helping the addicted and co-dependent find freedom and victory in Christ.
A year ago, FVM was stuffing newsletters into envelopes by hand and struggling to stay connected to their supporters. With the costs of postage and printing so high, the Pothoffs wondered if they could find a way to stay current with their supporters, so they could continue their ministry. With a generous gift and training from Visible Platforms Social Media Marketing, during 2013 the Pothoffs took their communication and fundraising efforts online. As a result, this past year has been one of blessing and growth.
In February, the ministry held their first ever Prayer Breakfast. Thirty people attended the event. The crowd included board members, leaders from four partner churches and representatives from Forgotten Man Ministries who are involved in Ottawa and Allegan County jails. Several of FVM’s small-group members attended as well, and the meeting focused on praying for the current and future needs of FVM and those in recovery.
In April, FVM held leadership training at Fifth Reformed Church in Muskegon, MI. Leaders from Holland, Hamilton and Zeeland attended, and as a result FVM has a new discipleship group planted at Fifth Reformed in Muskegon. The group meets Wednesdays at 6:30.
FVM now offers four weekly Bible study – discipleship groups at the Allegan and Ottawa County jails. Approximately 100 inmates receive good news from God’s Word every week under the caring leadership of twelve trained ministry leaders. FVM staff also works to connect the incarcerated participants with local churches, so that when they transition back into the real world, the ministry they receive inside the jail continues.
FVM launched a New Way of Life for Women ministry. The purpose for “A New Way of Life Group” is to help women come to know themselves better, be honest about themselves and become strong, confident individuals. By growing personally, emotionally and spiritually, women are able to set healthy boundaries and goals for themselves and their loved ones. In “A New Way of Life Group” women encourage and support one another as they journey together for eight weeks. This summer, seventeen women enrolled in the class. At the end of the eight-week class, eight women received certificates of completion and they enjoyed an outdoor picnic.
In September, FVM held an evening fundraiser with Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt Shop in Holland Michigan. Attendees enjoyed some of the best frozen yogurt and ice cream available in West Michigan, and 10% of the profits were donated to FVM.
In early November the ministry held their fifth annual fundraiser. Jason Hanson from the Detroit Lions spoke to 400 people on the benefits and power of perseverance. In a recovery ministry, often the participants are tempted to give up. Their problems seem so large and their personal resources so small. Jason’s focus on the power and benefits of perseverance was the perfect message for the ministry. The event netted nearly $15,000 to benefit the more than 150 people per week the ministry reaches through local-area churches and in Ottawa County and Allegan County.
In the fall of 2013, FVM tackled the issue of the hard copy newsletter. Instead of sitting around a table stuffing envelopes with a printed version, FVM launched an email based newsletter. Because email costs nothing but time, Norine and Harry believe that this new dimension to the ministry will help them be better stewards of their resources and extend the outreach of the ministry without increasing costs.
If you would like to know more about FVM and the work of Norine and Harry Pothoff, connect with them on their website, www.familiesvictorious.org. You can subscribe to their new newsletter, find information about upcoming events, and make a tax-free donation to support their work.